News and Tribune

Clark County

January 4, 2012

Clark County’s courts have new names

Consolidation takes effect for courts, probation office

JEFFERSONVILLE — Clark County’s court consolidation took effect with the start of the new year, eliminating the superior courts.

Clark County Circuit Court is now Clark County Circuit Court No. 1. Superior Courts No. 2 and No. 3 were renamed Circuit Courts No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Superior Court No. 1 is now Circuit Court No. 4.

“We hope a lot of this will be eliminating some of the confusion about the different names of courts,” said Circuit Court No. 1 Judge Dan Moore, who led the consolidation efforts.

Circuit courts in Indiana are established by the state constitution, while superior courts are created by state statutes. Circuit and superior courts generally have the same jurisdiction.

“Trial courts have different names primarily due to accidents of legislative history and local custom, not true differences in the nature or purpose of the courts,” according to the state judiciary’s website.

A bill passed earlier this year allowed for the consolidation of courts in Clark, Henry and Madison counties. Moore said five counties in the state have this unified system.

“It would be my belief this probably would become statewide legislation,” Moore said. “I think it’s very modern.”

He said the judges have done a good job in recent years of transferring cases. If a defendant has three pending cases in different courts, those will often be transferred to one court.

As a result of the consolidation, the courts will now submit a combined budget, and they will be able to transfer cases between county and municipal courts. There will now be one probation department for the county rather than one for each court. Henry E. Ford leads the new probation department.

During the summer, the judges agreed on case allocation for the next two years. The only significant change is that new divorce cases will be filed in all four courts.

Moore will continue to handle major felony, probate and guardianship cases. Circuit Court No. 2 Judge Jerry Jacobi will still have drug cases, and Circuit Court No. 4 Judge Vicki Carmichael will handle juvenile, children in need of services and felony cases. Circuit Court No. 3 Judge Joe Weber will have misdemeanor, low-level felony and traffic court cases.

Clark County uses the state’s case management system, Odyssey. The court clerks are in the process of converting the former superior court cases. They hope to have the website updated by the end of the week.

To view Clark, Floyd or other court cases, visit mycase.in.gov.

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